There is nothing wrong with wanting to get a baby car seat cheap and yet not wanting to sacrifice on features. The way to do this is simple: Make safety features your priority, and let the other stuff slide into a distant second. The prudent parent will realize just how much fluff there is on the market in terms of “extras” and other garbage that drives the price of these products up through the roof. Your job as a responsible consumer involves separating the necessities from the hype. If you do this with even a modicum of common sense, your investment will be rewarded with a sturdy, cheap infant car seat with the features you really need to keep your child safe. Let’s delve into a couple of these things in more depth.
Probably the number one feature in a car seat that will be good for both child safety and your own convenience as a parent is the LATCH system. This system is simply a new way of tethering the car seat into any LATCH compatible vehicle. You just push the seat down on the hooks which should be provided in your car, and you are done. Any car that was made in roughly the last decade will probably already have these hooks. In fact, many people are surprised to find them hiding in the cushions.
The other big factor in your decision should undoubtedly be build quality. I always recommend that people purchase new seats rather than used ones because of issues with latent defects. Over time, any product is going to wear down with consistent use. A used seat is no different in this respect, so do yourself a favor and just get a new seat while saving money by skipping features you do not really need.
As long as you are mindful of your main priority as a parent, namely child safety, you will be amazed at how easily you sort through and disregard a lot of the products on the market, and just focusing on the ones that will truly provide return on the initial investment.